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Shane guilty on two charges

WORTHINGTON -- After two days of jury selection, eight days of testimony and about four hours of deliberation, a verdict of guilty for two of the three charges against Lisa Shane was handed down Monday in Nobles County District Court.

Shane shook her head and sobbed as the court administrator read the jury's verdict while friends, family and various law enforcement representatives looked on. Her bail was revoked moments later, and she was taken into the custody of the Nobles County Jail.

Shane, 20, was on trial for the murder of her 3-month-old daughter, Ashanta Chavarria, who died in November 2004 of severe head trauma. The cause of death was later ruled as homicide.

Shane, after hours of police questioning where she denied knowing about any injury to the child, finally claimed the baby had been injured during an argument between her and the child's father when the baby was dropped onto a metal futon frame. The father, Jose Chavarria, denied the allegations and said he was with a relative on Oct. 28, 2004, when the injuries occurred.

The verdict was:

- Second-degree murder -- assault in the first degree: not guilty

- Second-degree murder -- felony murder through child neglect: guilty

- Child neglect: guilty

Shane started to tremble when the first verdict was announced. As the next two were read she began to cry, shaking her head in denial.

At the request of Chief Public Defendant James Fleming, the jury was polled by Court Administrator Nancy Vander Kooi.

"Are these your true and correct verdicts?" Vander Kooi asked each juror individually.

"Yes," each juror answered.

Assistant Attorney General William Klumpp asked that bail be revoked because of the severity of the charges, calling the defendant "young and somewhat immature."

Fleming pointed out that Shane had been present for every court date throughout the proceedings and now lived in the City of Worthington. He asked that the bond continue, which Judge David Christensen denied.

Shane was allowed to speak to and hug friends and family members present before she was taken away by law enforcement.

Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore believes justice was done for Ashanta.

"I first want to make it clear that this verdict is in no way a cause for celebration," Moore said in a news release. "No jury can bring back Ashanta or change the tragedy of what happened to her on Oct. 28, 2004."

Moore said he knows there are family members and friends in the area on both sides who remain deeply upset about the untimely death of Ashanta, but he asks them to honor her memory by remaining calm and letting the court system do its job.

"I want to thank the jury for their hard work and their verdicts," he added. "This was a difficult case with unpleasant facts and large amounts of evidence. ...We in Nobles County owe them our gratitude."

Moore also thanked the attorneys and staff in his office, the staff of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, the law enforcement officers involved and the doctors and witnesses who testified.

"Mr. Klumpp and I could not have prosecuted this case without the hard work of all these people," Moore said. "Cases like this, which involved over 70 persons interviewed and over 3,000 documents or items disclosed in evidence, are truly a team effort."

The court, with Judge Christensen presiding, will sentence Shane after making a determination of whether aggravating factors existed to justify an upward departure in sentencing.

The maximum sentence for the felony murder charge is 40 years imprisonment. The child neglect maximum sentence is five years and/or $10,000.